HISD Reaches Out to Dropouts

With the school year starting up everywhere, the Houston School District is getting ready

for its annual effort to persuade dropouts to come back to school. This program has been

so successful a number of other school districts around the state have also started using it.

Jim Bell reports.

It’s called Reach Out To Dropouts day and it’s coming up Saturday.  Hundreds of volunteers will fan out across HISD to visit face to face with dropout students and their parents. The volunteers fail more often than they succeed, but coordinator Jesse Marche says out of more than 1700 attempted visits last year, 60 kids came back to school. Marche says the volunteers’ job is to convince the kids that whatever led them to drop out can be overcome, and they’ll get all the help and support they need to stay in school.

“Back at the school we do have what call our ‘Dropout Prevention Specialists’ who are key players within the district, that can provide resources for the students.”

Nearly two dozen other school districts in the Houston area and around the state have followed HISD’s lead in using this direct approach to reaching out to dropouts.  Since it went statewide, more than 5500 students have returned to school and over 500 have graduated from high school. 

“We have provided models for surrounding school districts, and also some surrounding cities that have adopted this initiative.”

Marche says they could use more volunteers for the walk this Saturday.  He says anyone interested in helping should go to the HISD website Houston ISD-dot-org and click on the Reach Out To Dropouts box. 

Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.

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